Reviewed: Learning Axure RP Interactive Prototypes

This book would be most appropriate for an intermediate Axure user who is looking to elevate their Axure skills to an expert level. The book is an extended walkthrough about how to build a specific ecommerce prototype, which can be downloaded as a supplement to the text.

  • Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by its publisher, Packt.*

Who this book is for:

An intermediate or expert Axure user who’s looking to improve their knowledge of repeaters and variables.

Pros:

  • Highly detailed and step by step process gives you a thorough breakdown of the author’s method of building these prototypes
  • John utilizes almost every type of widget in the creation of this prototype, showing the way in which they can be used and highlighting their proper use cases
  • The book focuses heavily on the use of repeaters and variables, it is by far the best demonstration I’ve seen of the power and flexibility of repeaters.
  • John’s designs skirt many of Axure’s eccentricities, and show ways to create prototypes that don’t fall into these traps.

Cons:

  • There is an incredible amount of time spent detailing instructions for building this specific prototype. Instead of focusing on broader lessons and use cases, the majority of the instructions are about dimensions and placements of widgets. It makes it difficult for me as a reader to glean actual techniques because of the amount of text I have to sift through.
  • Axure can be a weird program, and there are many eccentricities that need to be designed around. John walks us through how to work around these issues, but without explaining what the issues are and what problems we’re trying to prevent.
  • These two related issues mean that the reader must already have an intermediate or advanced knowledge of Axure to use this text effectively. A beginner would be completely bogged down in the minutia of the tutorial, and wouldn’t gain the benefit of the larger lessons about Axure’s function and use. The reader would already need to be familiar with a large portion of Axure’s internal workings in order to follow along.
  • There’s very little consideration given to future editing and use cases. The prototypes are highly functional, abstracted, and heavily data driven - but this is something that’s really only useful after you have the prototype almost entirely defined. Even as experienced as I am with the program, I’m not entirely sure how I’d add in different functionality to some of the structures and patterns that are built with this tutorial.

Because of the way that this book is structured, I wouldn’t recommend putting it on a Kindle and reading through it as I did. I think that it would be more useful to skim it to find gaps in your Axure knowledge, and then read the tutorial pieces that have more useful information for you.